Convert Fuel-Only Customers into In-Store Loyalists

On average about 300 people visit a store’s gas pumps a day, but only 35 percent of those customers step foot in the store. The opportunity to compel store visits is palpable – you are not unlike other marketers who dream of solving this dilemma. We all know that margin, for the most part, lives in the store, not at the pump. Which is why converting fuel customers to frequent in-store patrons is like the brass ring of convenience store marketing.

For years, marketers have tried to solve this challenge. Some send the same ‘buy one coffee get one free’ offer to all customers and then hope it pulls them in. Others have invested in expensive pump displays, point of purchase material and more to convert that customer. There is even a group that has given up trying to convert them – leaving room for competitors to grab their customers instead. There is a better way to motivate store visits.

Use an individual’s purchase data to compel in-store sales.

With individual contact information, such as an email address, coupled with a history of purchase behavior, marketers today are equipped with the intelligence they need to persuade the customer toward their next purchase.  A well-designed loyalty program motivates customers to share their contact information with you which in turn enables the brand to gain insight into individual purchase histories.

Once you compel customers to join and participate in a loyalty program, strengthen the bond with customers and drive profitable promotions by segmenting the membership data to deliver targeted promotions.

There are clear segments in your customer base – each with different motivational factors. When marketers discover segments with common motivators, the result is a powerful, profitable marketing strategy.

Beyond simple segmentation such as demographics and preferences, creating segments of like-minded lifestyles helps the brand deliver relevance and convenience to its customers. You may recognize some of these personas:

  • The Truck Driver. The blue-collared, pickup-driving guy. Averaging 300 miles per week, he tends to be a frequent gas customer. He comes in at least once a week to fill up and hit the road again.
  • The Soccer Mom. Her mini-van is always filled with kids, carpooling to and from practice. She is cost-conscious, non-smoker who fills up her tank quickly in between shuffling kids around.
  • The Professional. Always on the go, they stop in to quickly fill up their gas tank a couple times a month on their way to or from work.

The typical purchase behaviors within each of these segments are distinct. Each persona is motivated to purchase in a unique way. For example, sending a free Slim Jim® offer would likely appeal to your Truck Driver segment rather than your Soccer Mom segment. Relevant promotions motivate incremental purchases inside the store.

If you are not convinced lifestyle segmentation will drive customers into the store, consider this:

Relevance of offer matters. We have tested this across a number of dimensions and have found that continually sending irrelevant messages causes recipients to tune out your brand, or worse unsubscribe. Instead, customers experience success in sending relevant messages to draw customers into the store. Here’s an example: A pattern in the customer purchase data revealed that at about every fourth visit, a customer named Jessica comes in to purchase a tobacco product. Sending a message just after the second visit with an offer for a free drink in addition to that tobacco purchase causes the customer to decrease the time between visits – ultimately increasing the number of store visits Jessica makes over the course of the year.

Leverage data to target each customer with a relevant promotion with careful consideration of timing and offer – it will get them into the store more often.  Watch “How to Get Your Customers from the Pump to the Store” to learn more.

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The Author
Kimberly Otocki is a content marketing specialist at Paytronix working in the convenience store space. With a passion for telling stories, she helps bolster the Paytronix brand through content creation and data analysis. Kimberly loves sharing relevant content to help businesses discover the marketing solutions they need.

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